Mets Should Bring Back Seth Lugo
The New York Mets were always in a predicament with Seth Lugo. Lugo wanted to start, but he proved to be far too valuable of a reliever. In fact, there was a time you could argue he was the best reliever in all of baseball.
With the Mets controlling his rights for years, Lugo had to sit and wait for his chance to start again. He got that with the San Diego Padres. He signed a one year deal worth $7.5 million with a $7.5 million option for 2024, which he turned down.
Lugo bet on himself, and he won the bet. In 26 starts, he was 8-7 with a 3.57 ERA, 1.203 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, and an 8.6 K/9. He averaged 5.2 innings per start. He failed to pitch five innings four times, and he came within one out of having a complete game in his last start of the season.
From an advanced stats perspective, he had a 1.8 WAR, 115 ERA+, and a 3.83 FIP. Per Baseball Savant, his fastball was great, and his curveball spin rate remained off the charts. By and large, he was a very effective pitcher.
Digging deeper, we saw he had a .298 BABIP. That’s right in line with career averages and with league averages, so we should not anticipate regression. The same goes for his LOB%. In essence, with Lugo, with the possible exception of age, we should not see regression.
We also know Lugo has the ability to pitch in New York. He arrived in 2016, and he was great down the stretch for a team that made a near miracle run to the postseason. He pitched three days in the row for the first time in his career in the 2022 Wild Card Series, and he was again fantastic.
The moment and the market does not overwhelm Lugo. Rather, he thrives in those situations. That is always of the utmost importance for the Mets.
That goes double for a Mets team looking to rebuild their rotation. So far, they only have Kodai Senga and José Quintana lined up for the rotation next year while they debate what to do with David Peterson and Tylor Megill.
The Mets need dependable starters and pitching depth. Bringing Lugo back does that. If he had enough innings to qualify, he would have ranked in the top 25 in FIP making him a top of the rotation starter in this league. Ideally, the Mets would be bringing him aboard to pitch at the back-end thereby further strengthening their rotation.
When we look forward, Lugo can then be redeployed in the bullpen come the postseason. With that, you get the best of both worlds. You get Lugo being an effective starter, and then you get to see him pull off what Andrew Miller did in 2016. Put another way, Lugo significantly strengthens the Mets chances of winning the World Series.
In the end, there may be better options available. Lugo may want to look elsewhere. However, in the end bringing Lugo back to start for the Mets advances their chances of winning a World Series more than many of the other starters on the free agent market.